As part of its duty of care to staff, Toptotz has put in place procedures to manage sickness absence. Staff are expected to maintain a satisfactory record of attendance. However, Toptotz aims to balance the sensitive nature of individual sickness and ill health against its needs to achieve its objectives. As a caring employer, Toptotz aims to assist employees to retain or regain good health.
It is essential that the following procedures be carried out with tact and sensitivity and a realisation that the management of attendance is the joint responsibility of the Manager and the individual member of staff.
Should a member of staff fail to comply with notification or certification procedures or otherwise abuse the procedures, the disciplinary procedure may be used.
The policy and procedure applies to all Toptotz employees.
Principles – This policy and associated procedure incorporate the following principles.
Goodfaith – The policy and procedures will be applied to all members of staff in a consistent manner and without discrimination.
Fairness – Any action taken will be reasonable and necessary. Members of staff involved are entitled to be heard with courtesy and respect.
Confidentiality – Information relating to sickness absence will only be shared with individuals who have a need to know.
Representation – If issues of attendance arise within these procedures and a formal approach is required to deal with them, a member of staff will be entitled to be accompanied by a representative or by a work colleague.
Members of staff who are away from work due to sickness or injury must conform to the following procedure.
1.1 Reporting sickness absence
The member of staff must telephone their Manager by 0800 hours on the first day of absence. If the reason for absence is sensitive and the member of staff prefers, they may contact the Director directly. If it is impossible for the individual to make contact personally, someone may do this on their behalf, for example, a family member. The reason for absence must be given, along with how long the individual expects to be away from work. If the employee’s Manager is not available, this information should be conveyed to the Deputy Manager. The same procedure should be used if an individual is unexpectedly absent from work for any other reason including an accident. If the employee is unsure how long they will be absent, they should keep their Manager updated. If there is no contact from an employee by 0800 hours, the Manager or a colleague should inform the Director who will try and contact the employee or their emergency contact.
The Manager or other member of staff taking the message must inform the Director immediately so that any necessary follow-up action can be taken, for example, amendment to pay.
1.2 Duration of sickness absence and medical certification
Staff must complete a return to work form on their return to work for every period of sickness absence of half a day or more. This form should be given to the Manager.
If a member of staff is sick for more than seven calendar days, they must also provide Toptotz with medical certificates to cover the period of their incapacity for work.
1.3 Recording sickness absence
All sickness absences must be recorded by the Manager. Dates recorded must be for actual periods of sickness, including non-working days, for statutory sick pay purposes. Absence monitoring reports will be provided to Directors. Reasons for absence will not normally be included, but may be reported on a collective basis.
1.4 Return to work discussion
On the employee’s return to work, the Manager should discuss the reasons for absence with the employee, regardless of its length. This is intended to give the individual an opportunity to discuss any problems which may be a factor in the absence and for the Manager to discuss any action points and brief the member of staff on what has happened while they have been away. The details of the return to work discussion will be recorded by the Manager on the form available. The form should be forwarded to the Director on completion along with the self-certification form.
2.1 Concerns that the employee may have work-related health problems or that existing health problems are being aggravated by the duties of the post or work environment.
Concerns about periods or patterns of absence.
- To identify how Toptotz can help an employee manage a health problem or disability, for example, advice on working patterns, provision of assistance at work.
- When an employee notifies Toptotz they are pregnant.
- Long term or continuing sickness absence for advice on any restrictions or job modifications required either in the short or long term, or where there is no clear indication of a likely date for return to work
- Persistent or recurrent short-term absence
- Where health may be an underlying factor or contributory factor in performance or disciplinary issues
- When an employee has a drug or alcohol problem.
2.2 Where appropriate, following a prolonged period of sick leave or period of hospitalisation, employees should seek medical advice on rehabilitation to facilitate the employee back to work. The Director/Manager will normally meet with the employee, assess their health and advice on their likely date of returns to work and offer guidance on suitable changes to duties or environment.
2.3 Where appropriate, once advice has been received, the individual will be invited to a meeting with the Director and the Manager to discuss the advice received.
- Sick pay
Entitlement to statutory sick pay.
3.1 Statutory sick pay
Statutory sick pay will be paid, where applicable, in line with government guidelines.
- Frequent short-term sickness absences
If a member of staff has more than four separate sickness absences or 10 days’ total sickness absence over a 12 month period, the Director and Manager will arrange for the individual to meet where appropriate.
The aim of this is to:
- Identify any underlying reasons for the sickness absences
- Discuss the frequency and reasons for the absences and ensure that the member of staff is aware that the absence record is giving cause for concern
- Advise the member of staff to seek medical attention if appropriate.
- The Director will provide a written report and will then meet with the individual and the Manager, if necessary, to:
- If appropriate, inform the member of staff that the absences are unacceptable and draw the member of staff’s attention to the Toptotz Absence policy
- Give consideration to any personal problems and possible ways of helping the member of staff resolve them
- Agree a reasonable period of time, normally three to six months, over which the member of staff’s attendance can be assessed
- Indicate what the next step will be if the member of staff fails to reach the standard required. The standards or targets will be specified.
If there is no underlying medical condition and the reasons for absence appear not to be genuine, the matter may be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure. If the absences are genuine, but the frequency remains unacceptable, the matter may be dealt with formally, and a formal meeting held as specified in paragraph 7.
- Accident or injury
Any accident, however slight, which occurs in the course of work, whether or not on Toptotz premises or while travelling on Toptotz business, must be reported without delay to the Director and Manager so that, if legally required, a report may be recorded.
- Long-term absence due to ill health or disability
- Where an employee has been absent for over three consecutive weeks, the Director will make contact to see how the individual is and when they are likely to be back at work. If there is no clear indication of a return to work, medical advice should be sought indicating the expected return date and any rehabilitation suggestions.
- It is expected that the Manager will contact the employee regularly, normally weekly, while off long-term sick. In some circumstances, for example if the reason for absence is sensitive, it may be appropriate for the Director to maintain contact.
- In cases where an employee is not able to return to work to full duties after long term sickness absence, but a full return is expected within 6-8 weeks, the Manager and Director should consider arranging a phased return in consultation with the employee.
Principles of a phased return
- Phased returns should normally last for up to eight weeks, but may be extended by four weeks in exceptional cases.
- The phased return programme must be agreed by the employee, Director and Manager.
- The programme must be recorded by the Manager.
- The programme will be reviewed regularly by the Manager and adjustments made if necessary.
- When the phased return ends, the employee will be expected to return to work in their normal employment capacity. Where this is not possible, the Manager and Director will jointly investigate alternatives, including early retirement on the grounds of ill health, dismissal on the grounds of medical incapability, and a temporary or permanent reduction in hours.
- Where there is no clear indication of a return to work following two months of absence, the following will be taken into account when deciding on the next steps:
- The nature of the incapacity
- The prognosis for future health
- The requirements of the business
- The employee’s views on continuing employment
- The employee’s length of service and past sickness record
- Whether the employee could be offered alternative work or other duties more suitable to their state of health
- Whether the condition may be classed as a disability
- Whether any reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act should be considered.
Toptotz will make every effort to deal with the case informally.
- Formal meeting
Where it is unlikely that an employee will be able to return to work within a time period that is reasonable in all the circumstances, and it is not possible to make an accommodation to their current role, ill health, early retirement or termination of the individual’s employment may need to be considered. No decision to pursue any of these options would be taken without reviewing the medical evidence available, writing to the employee to advice of these potential courses of action and consulting personally with the employee where possible.
For employees who are ineligible for pension, the only option in the will be termination of employment on grounds of capability/incapacity.
Where the facts of a case appear to call for formal review, a meeting will be called as soon as possible. The meeting should comprise a panel of at least two people, normally a Director and Manager, detailing the medical evidence and a statement from the Manager indicating the impact of the absence. The employee will be informed of the options that may be considered at the meeting. This will be sent to the employee at least five working days before the meeting.
The employee shall be informed by letter giving at least five working days’ notice that a meeting is to be held. The employee may request an alternative date to allow up to an additional five working days to prepare themselves. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or representative. The letter shall include a copy of the sickness absence procedure.
The purpose of the meeting is to consult with the employee and to determine options for the future.
A letter confirming the outcome will be handed to the employee whenever possible or posted directly by recorded delivery to the employee within three working days of the hearing and to the employee’s representative, where applicable.
- Right of appeal against termination
8.1 An employee has the right of appeal against termination.
8.2 Should an employee wish to appeal they must do so, in writing, to the Director, within five working days of being informed in writing of the termination.
8.3 A request for an appeal must specify the grounds of the appeal.
8.4 The decision of the appeal is final.